By Grace Matsiko Kampala
President Yoweri Museveni has called for a public-private partnership in the fight against HIV/Aids, a statement issued by the Whitaker Goup said on Friday. The President, who returned from his official visit to the US at the end of the week, made his call while meeting over 130 representatives of the African Diplomatic Corps, healthcare industry people and senior US government officials in Washington at a breakfast on Wednesday, October 31.
He said the partnership is crucial in research on the HIV/Aids virus and access to medicines for those already infected. The breakfast meeting was convened under the theme, “The way forward on HIV/Aids and healthcare in Africa: Partnerships and a new paradigm” and was held in recognition of President Museveni’s achievement in the fight against HIV/Aids. US Congressman Donald Payne called for a tripling of funding for the American President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar), from $15 billion to $45 billion. Uganda has so far received more than $400 million from Pepfar.
During his three-day trip, President Museveni held talks with US President George Bush in Washington DC. He also met with other US government officials and addressed Ugandans living in the US. The President also met members of the United States Congressional Black Caucus whom he asked to support the African development cause by supporting pro-African policies and programmes in the US Congress.
He told members of the caucus to unite in spearheading development of the African continent, no matter their political inclinations. He said the continent needs their support not only because it is their motherland but because it is the origin and the future of humanity. He thanked the caucus for its outstanding contribution to the fight against apartheid in South Africa. He also hailed them for their support of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) of the US government and asked them to support its extension for more years.
The President called on the US Congress to help in attracting investors to Africa, adding that the investment climate in Uganda is excellent. The Congressional Black Caucus members, led by their Chairperson Ms Carolyn Kilpatrick, assured the President that they will get in touch with several Afro-American companies to invest in Africa. They also said they will, through the Congress, enable Uganda to access the Millennium Challenge Account because of Uganda’s success in education, HIV/Aids fight and national economic growth.